Children bereaved by the death of one parent at the hands of the other, almost always the father, in effect lose both parents but are often forgotten in the midst of such a dramatic situation. Bereavement is only part of the process, school work, familiar routines and friendships are all disrupted. This is the second revised edition of this book which was first published in 1993 and aims to bring to public knowledge the effects of psychological trauma and bereavement on children. The authors have seen more than 400 children who have been affected by one parent's violent death at the hands of the other and this book is written to help those people who may find themselves having to care for such children for the first time. Written primarily with a professional audience in mind and occasionally using fairly technical terminology it would nevertheless prove a useful source of information for the carers or relatives of children affected. Child survivors of a parental killing may also find it valuable.
Written in three parts, this is a tightly structured book. Part 1 outlines what is known about the general effects of trauma, violence and grief on children and adolescents. Attention is paid both to historical record and to research. Part 2 deals specifically with the effects on children who have experienced one parent killing another. The legal aspects of the tragedy are examined and the role of social workers, guardians and courts as decision makers for the children is discussed. Part 3 summarises the findings from the research and makes recommendations about how to plan services for all children and adolescents affected by either loss or trauma or by both. Two anonymous court reports are also reproduced and these would be of considerable use to social workers, psychologists or psychiatrists who may have to prepare similar documents.
Throughout the book, the authors make a genuine and sensitive attempt to incorporate the views of the young people themselves and two accounts written by young women whose mothers were killed by their fathers are also included. Each chapter begins with a quotation from literature which gives a lyrical quality to already poignant topics and underlines the universal human tragedy of the subject matter. However this is a book which is solidly rooted in practicalities. Well-written, well-indexed and referenced it should prove a valuable source of help and advice.